2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder

David Zenlea Jean Jennings,, Jeffrey Jablansky
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2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder

As I got into the Porsche Boxster Spyder for the first time in our parking structure, a young man driving by in a Lexus IS paused to tell me that I was in a "hot car." The Boxster Spyder drew lots of attention during my evening driving it around Ann Arbor, including from the driver, another young guy, of a Porsche Cayman coupe.

The retro-style manual top is either endearing or annoying, depending on your outlook on life and, I suppose, your mood at any given moment. I actually found it rather charming and entertaining as I unwrapped the thing and put it back together: so many little pieces of clever engineering that went into designing it! Like the cable that runs through the rear portion of the main part of the roof. It hooks on the driver's side and then inside the trunk compartment on the passenger's side, a red lever tightens it down or loosens it. And the flying-buttress fabric tie-downs. And the way the two pieces of the roof stow very cleverly on top of the engine compartment. The back window section, which Jean says is called the Weatherguard (who knew? It's not like it has a label on it!) rolls up into a little piece of nothing that goes into a small square compartment just forward of the rear trunk, and then the main top spans the entire width of the car just forward of that, and then the trunk lid fits tidily over the whole thing. When the top is up, the fabric flying buttresses are pretty cool looking. Top up or down, you still have full use of both the front and rear trunks, like you do in any Boxster.

Even with the top up, you hear more of the flat-six than you do in a stock Boxster, and it sounds really really good, especially when you're accelerating up to 100 mph. At that speed you also get a lot of wind noise. So, it's not a freeway car; it's a very special-purpose track-day special, and there ain't nothing wrong with that. I don't perceive a huge performance difference, but what the hell. It's something different.

By the way, I gave my 12-year-old nephew Ryan a ride in the Boxster Spyder which he enjoyed except for one thing: below the headrest portion of the passenger's seat, there's a hard plastic vented section, and since he's short, his head would bang against the hard plastic when I braked hard. Which I did often. So, the Boxster Spyder is a head-banger car for children, I guess. It will help them build character.

Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor

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